Merging personal expression and computational power, "spacial computing" marks a departure from screen-only computing to incorporate bodily movement, another step toward mimicking how we organically interact with the world.
Sometime in the next several days the IdeaFestival will release its 2010 agenda and presenters, and debut an attractive new, and much improved, web site.
The timing got me to thinking.
As an annual post-Derby event, public release of the IdeaFestival agenda could be the second act in a distinctly Louisville two-fer, a cognitive call to the post that follows the horses.
Like the infield goings-on, the mix of ideas and people at the IdeaFestival is a heady experience - it's impossible to know what you'll encounter. You'll leave, however, with a buzz, a new and unexpected thought, a flash of insight. In a world where everything but creativity has become a commodity, that's a payoff that could last a lifetime.
"Push" author Sapphire, co-producer of "Avatar," Jon Landau, and the man who committed the "artistic crime of the century," Philippe Petit, might be among the incredible and talented people who be on hand in Louisville this fall.
Author of This Will Change Everything and Edge Foundation president John Brockman invited Edge community members, who span the range of intellectual pursuit, to react to the ash cloud from Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano and to tell him, in 250 words or less, something he "didn't already know and wasn't going to read in the newspapers."
Futurist and business strategist Peter Schwartz, and mathematician and economist Eric Weinstein pointed out that no forecasts for large scale disruption of air travel because of volcanic ash clouds had been made, and so Eyjafjallajökull was a true Black Swan event.
A business school might seem like an unlikely source for this kind of news, but apparently packing up our troublesdoes help us get past unwelcome events, according to research from the Rotman School of Management.
A new study... suggests you might want to stick something
related to your disappointment in a box or envelope if you want to feel
better. In four separate experiments researchers found that the physical
act of enclosing materials related to an unpleasant experience, such as
a written recollection about it, improved people's negative feelings
towards the event and created psychological closure. Enclosing materials
unrelated to the experience did not work as well....
While the market
implications might not be immediately obvious..., the
findings point to new angles on such things as fast pick-up courier
services and pre-paid mortgage deals that relieve people's sense of debt
burden. If people realize that the memory of past events or tasks can
be distracting, perhaps there is a market for products and services that
can enclose or take away memories of that task.
But the effect can be observed in people as well. New studies demonstrate that two individuals standing even feet apart can, in fact, experience time very differently.
What's more, writing in the latest issue of PopSci, Steven Kotler suggests that understanding why time dilation occurs in individuals during times of crisis (think flying bullets in The Matrix) might lead to better treatments for mental illnesses. Kotler:
In recent years, scientists have learned that the circadian rhythms that
control our 24-hour sleep/wake cycle are governed by a cluster of
10,000 brain cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Sorting out what
happens moment to moment is the focus of [David] Eagleman [neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine]... [H]is
Baylor-based Laboratory for Perception and Action is one of the only
facilities dedicated to running experiments that produce hard data on
how we perceive time.
Engleman has found that the brain keeps two clocks, one "that feeds you a perception of the now, and
another that is constantly at work tidying up that perception." To conserve energy, the portion of the brain "tidying up" will predict events, meaning that the everyday events will flow by relatively unnoticed, while the unexpected events takes longer - or so we think - to pass.
This new understanding might have profound implications for sufferers of mental illness.
Deana Davalos, a psychologist at Colorado State University who works on
timing and mental illness, agrees. 'Sensory gating, the process by which
the brain filters out repeated stimuli, is a problem with
schizophrenia,' she says. 'Most people think it’s a breakdown in their
ability to inhibit responses to repeated stimuli, but Eagleman’s work
points to a timing malfunction.' To this end, Eagleman, with the help of
psychologists, is designing a videogame that would recalibrate the
brains of patients. He hopes to begin testing it in the next few years.
Referencing a Wired UK article on "ultra mapping," Nokia's head of interface design, Adam Greenfield, stakes a claim to some pretty rich epistemological territory. Maps that dynamically pinpoint us render more than another coordinate or elevation. No, they are much more illustrious:
[A]ll those routinely gorgeous renderings of subway ridership or crime or air quality imply something very different when you can either find yourself within their ambit or cannot. At its rawest, the suggestion is this: either these issues affect me, or they do not. And this is true even if what is being mapped is a purely historical event. The implication is there, however faint.
Louisville's Keith Robbins filmed this panel featuring philosopher Sandy Goldberg, architect Emiliano Gandolfi, game designer Jane McGonigal and the artistic director for Diavolo, Jacques Heim at the 2008 IdeaFestival discussing breakthroughs, the importance of failure and their sources of creativity. In addition to some great conversation, this ten minute video features a favorite quote of mine.
With repercussions for academic disciplines new and old, Nobel Laureate and psychologist Daniel Kahneman points out that "we think of the future as anticipated memories." Such anticipation bears on personal satisfaction, particularly if those memories are uncomfortable, but a better understanding of how we think the future also has an important economic dimension that is being explored.
We all exercise choice.
And Kahneman asks, who chooses, our "remembering self" or our "experiencing self?"